Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

The kinda traveling that i used to do was really tiring. To make the best of our trip, we often rush from sight to sight, try to squeeze in as many places of attraction and even set time limit for each spot. As time passed (and as we age), there is really no such need. Traveling is an experience that is meant to be enjoyed at a relaxing pace (that's why it's a holiday!). By slowing down your itinerary or cutting down useless touristy stuff, you get more breathing space and the flexibility in schedule allows for some spontaneity as well.

Here are some tips for a great holiday from this control freak who have since learnt to relax a lot.

1. Plan for free time and then be spontaneous. 
When S & i were in Seoul last year, we decided to skip the palaces and some sights (they look the same after the 2nd one anyway) and gave ourselves time off one morning. A random idea of picking up a cooking class struck us when we woke and with the help of the Internet and our concierge, we booked a cultural experience class and set off immediately. 
It turned out to be a fun way to kill time (We had no idea Seoul was that boring. Not into their fashion so i didn't shop much either). So began our Seoul Korean experience. We learned about the art of tea making and had fun donning the Korean Hanbok and camwhoring in the traditional Hanok. Next, we were taught how to prepare and cook some delicious kimchi pancakes, which of course led me to believe i'm a qualified Korean bride after the 'course'.
Don't i look like the perfect Korean wife? Or maybe Jap? Hurhur.
Bottom line is, chill. Take time off. Do nothing but sit at a cafe and read a book or magazine for at least 2 hours. While your time away. Learn to stop and smell the roses. You will feel much more refreshed after. 

2. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
Locals know where the best food are and they will let you in on their favorite hideouts because you aren't gonna be around for long to fight with them for space. All you need to do is ask. Sticking to what is recommended in the guidebooks will give you a very blah trip. Most of the time it's a tourist trap or over hyped. Disappointment has slapped me in the face one too many times. The road commonly travelled also guarantees replicable experiences. Identical photo albums with similar poses CHECK. You might as well Google map Street view it. Or just watch TLC from the comforts of your home.

So yea. Be adventurous. Live a little. Explore the back alleys. I once hit street food jackpot while checking out the old Shanghai residential area. Little eateries that operate out of backyards and occupying entire alleyways. There we sat, huddled on little plastic stools, among construction worker types, and had the most authentic Chinese home cooked meal in China. Just er.. don't question the origin of the food you eat. It also helps if you have a strong stomach for adventure. :)
Fresh spring rolls on the Saigon streets w my other skinnyfat half Z.
3. Luxe it folks.
What's traveling without some glam factor right? I'm not one to rough it out on holidays. That's for university kids my friend. If i can afford that little more comfort, why not? Backpacking is not my cuppa. Unless it's a mountaineering/trekking trip or else the only bag i'm carrying is one of my chic designer bags. I'm ok with either type of traveling as long as it's planned beforehand and expectations are set right from the start.

So S & i have agreed on at least 1 good meal in every city we visit. Michelin stars, noteworthy restaurants with great views and interesting gastronomic experiences are among those meals we search for.
1 Star Hibiscus in London
2 Star Ledbury in London
Great opportunity to dress up and go out on a date with the boy! I gotta wear all the clothes i buy somewhere right? I have far too many pretty dresses for all the occasions and events that i thought i would soon be attending (so i thought!) Occasion shopping is such a bad idea but we all fall into this trap over and over again. So this is what shopaholics do- you organize and you plan for events/meetings/parties so that you can parade your buys! :) 
Top of the world- Sirocco & Sky Bar, Bangkok. Ms. Selfridge, Miu Miu Matelasse Clutch
High Tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong. Casual H&M, Vintage Casio.
4. Work it off!
We usually let ourselves loose when it comes to calorie intake on trips. I don't face such a problem but the boy does. Most of the time he'd be lamenting the weight gain and then pushing the blame on me for his own greediness. Our strategy now is to work out on trips. Bring along a set of gym gear. If shoes are too bulky for you, skip them. Barefoot running is great work out. :) Or throw in an itsy bitsy bikini, they don't take up much space! Tanning is a form of exercise, just like sauna (if it makes you feel better. Haha. :P) 20 rounds of Sun Salutation under the hot sun is extremely awesome cardio too. 

For the more active, squeeze in some real sports. Snowboarding is almost a must during winter time. If water sports are more your thing, check out the waves if you are near the beach. Or dive under to spend an afternoon with the sharkies. Whatever you do, use some energy. If none of the above suits you, simply WALK IT OFF. Move that lazy bum. 
Looking pro on the board- Niseko, Hokkaido.
My 4 cents worth of fun traveling. Hope it helps. More on my travels soon. :)
I always thought that Jones the Grocer cafe is darn overpriced in Singapore. My first memory of it was the brunch that i had some weekends eons ago at Dempsey Hill. The food was unmemorable but the hefty bill at the end made me swear not to return again (I obviously did not stick to that resolution). 

I gave it a second shot at Mandarin Gallery. It is my less crowded alternative when WH is packed to the brim. Given a choice i would stick with WH but when one is hungry, one loses all capacity for logical reasoning. Being the usual greedy self, i ordered the English breakfast ($22) and i could barely finish half of it. The big brekkie consists of two large pieces of sourdough bread (bigger than my face), a large sausage, scrambled eggs, bacon and sauteed mushrooms. Do not attempt to go at this one alone. Really. It may be worth it if you share though. Anyway I have since found a better alternative with better tasting food at Lots (though it's really kinda out of the way).

So what really changed my opinion of Jones was their cakes. Was looking for a tea place at MG but A was packed and so we decided to give Jones a shot and i was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cakes. If there's something they do well at a reasonable price, it's their cakes.
Not a usual fan of the Red Velvet because it's usually too dry but this baby is moist and juicy! From the picture alone, you could see the deep red beetroot awesomeness. If the sponge is dry, the colour would be a powdery/whitish red. The frosting was a bit too much for me and felt kinda like fake cream. Surprisingly bearable though i would prefer a cream cheese frosting. This doesn't taste like there's cheese in it at all.
Gotta say i love the brownie cheesecake. If it were cheesecake alone, i would be bored of the creaminess after a bit but the chunky chocolate goodness was spread out to ensure that there is a bit of cocoa in each bite. It is faultless. Dense and smooth cheese batter with bits of chewy brownie on a graham base, topped with a layer of chocolate fudge. What more could you ask for? Sighs.
I was a fan of their Mudslides or Iced Mocha. Can't go wrong with espresso, milk, chocolate and ice cream! Again. Lots does it better at a cheaper price. But one can't complain when one is in need of some dessert coffee fix in town and Jones does it the best.

So yea, give Jones a shot for tea sometime. You may be surprised at their offerings. Their baked goods smell really awesome.

Food: 3.5/5 Overpriced. Slightly above average.
Service: 4/5 Attentive and friendly. Quite humorous too.
Ambience: 4/5 Not a bad place to chill out with gfs.

Jones the Grocer
#04-21/23 Mandarin Gallery
#01-12 Dempsey Hill
Daily: 9am - 11pm
I love Cuppage Plaza despite it's shadiness, seediness and sleaziness. It rates pretty high up there on my dubious index, the one topping the chart being Orchard Plaza with all the nightclubs and Thai disco bars (i was recently dragged there by my wonderful friends). Anyway back to Cuppage Plaza. The reason why i would overlook all that under-table/behind-closed-doors activities in the background is that they have really good Japanese food! Nijumaru, Ohsumi, Nagomi and the list goes on. I have been to Nijimaru a couple of times and they serve decent and reasonably priced bentos (shall review it sometime). My goal is to try every notable Jap restaurant there. Should be too hard since i love the cuisine.

S suggested we try Kaiho Sushi when our previous craving kicked it. This is really a hole-in-the-wall kinda restaurant. The shopfront doesn't look appetizing at all- plain boring green banner with a simple font stating the name of the place. No pictures on the menu :( Absolutely no atmosphere of any sorts. A simple bar counter that seats 9-10 patrons and another 4-5 dining tables. This is not a place that you would come to for a chillaxing meal. BUT. The chunky fresh slices of sashimi and bottles of Ume wine sitting on display are enough to guarantee fresh and hearty Japanese food and Kaiho didn't disappoint in that aspect. 
All sushi/sashimi dishes are lovingly prepared by Chef Bernard Tang. It takes a while for food to be served when the place is packed but it's certainly worth the wait. A must try is the Salmon Aburi Sushi ($3 each). This is where i fell in love with the Aburi style.  I usually have a problem with the searing. When it's overcooked, it feels like i'm eating a half cooked/half raw piece of meat. I never knew what perfect Aburi is until Chef Tang and his perfect torching technique came along. The fish seamlessly transits from the cooked to raw texture which simply melts in your mouth. The Japanese Mayonnaise and sweet sauce gave it an additional buttery smoothness that simply glides down the throat. The Hotategai Aburi Sushi ($9) was great even without the heat. Couldn't really tell the difference though and I love it raw anyhow.
Being the greedy me as usual, i went ahead with the Kaiho Bento ($28) (Gotta love bento sets for their variety!) Stewed veg- love the pumpkin which was braised in sweet and light stock. I usually don't take the whole shrimp with shell and all but these were so nicely fried and crispy that i simply munched on them one after another. If you follow my blog closely you'll realize that i'm not a fish fan other than salmon and cod but this grilled fresh saba was so simple and yet yummy. It tastes of home- that sort of simple home made dishes cooked with love, seasoned with sea salt and splashed with lemon for that final touch. Love it.
A silky smooth chawanmushi came along with our sets and this i swear is like beancurd but the savory version. Nicely flavored with stock for that savory flavor. Each spoonful revealed chunks of surprises within- crab meat (the stick sort though :/), Unagi, mushrooms etc. I would say the texture is better than Lao Ban!
My set also came with the sushi/sashimi platter! I thought the cut of salmon was pretty weird. Seems like it's from some leftover piece of fish. Boo. Love the rest of the dish though. The rice was nicely flavored with vinegar and the fish to rice ratio was just right. The rice is better than Meii though it was a little more on the sticky side as well. Hotate was slightly on the sticky side. I noticed this problem with most hotate that i eat in Sg. Perhaps i compare it too much to that freshly shucked live scallops that i had in Sapporo. Nothing compares to that boing boing texture of fresh meat. Sighs.
S chose the Chirashi Set ($28). Just look at all those chunky pieces of seafood that covered the top of all that rice! I love the mixture of colours though i must say i'm not really a Chirashi fan. I like my sashimi/sushi but i love them better when there is a mix of hot dishes to go along with it. I'm a traditional Chinese girl that way. Anyhow, you get thick and juicy pieces of tuna, sweet shrimp, hamachi, mackerel, scallops, unagi and the tender snow crab leg. All for $28? Worth-it chop stamped!
Desserts were a delight as well! Japanese ice cream that is really from Japan! I had the Chestnut flavored one which was very light and nutty. Could taste a hint of caramel with little bits of Japanese chestnuts. S thought this was a little bland only because he ate his sesame one first. His sesame one was extremely fragrant with coarse bits of sesame as though it's freshly grounded. Really satisfied with the desserts! This is unlike the cheapo sorta ice cream that's typically served at the regular restaurants.
If you would like something more, you could also go for the Lunch/Dinner 8 Course Set for $60++ or the 7 course Omakase for $100++. The Omakase set includes Salmon head soft bone, toro, salmon and scallop sashimi, Nameko soup, Grilled fish dish, Kisu tempura, 5 pcs of Nigiri sushi and ice cream!

Kaiho Sushi is indeed a hidden gem. I wouldn't have gone in if i didn't know about the food. So here it is, don't say i never share! :))

Kaiho Sushi Restaurant
#03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Tel: +65 6738 1315
Tue–Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 11pm
(Closed on Mon)
I guess i was an honorary Thomsonite (if there's such a term). Spent many of my younger days hanging out in the Thomson area. Thursday and Saturday nights were spent at the Community Centre honing my Taekwondo skills and burning calories in preparation for our after class supper escapades. I grew up eating the prata from Prata House and whenever prata craving kicks in, i'd still head to Thomson without a second thought. Anyway, i'm liking how the stretch is turning into a food and chill out enclave. As compared to the past when there was only Prata House, Macs and a couple of coffeeshops, there are a gazillion restaurants, cafes and desserts places now! YAY! 

Of course i was one of the first few to notice and try the ice cream at Salted Caramel when it opened. How can i not? It is just next to Prata House. Prata and ice cream is the best combination for supper. Or lunch... Or dinner.. Or maybe bunch even! (Read about my sweet and savory quirk here).

I love the ice cream at Salted Caramel. My favorite flavors? Salted caramel for sure! And Chocolate stout. And Earl Grey. And Horlicks. And.... (you get my drift). The flavors are intense and the ice cream is creamy enough (no icy centers). The chocolate stout has a strong alcoholic flavor and somehow the bitterness of the stout goes very well with the milk chocolate. I also have a soft spot for tea infused ice cream so earl grey is a must have when the caffeine addict in me acts up. What i love best about SC is that the ice cream is very reasonably priced! $3 a scoop, $5 for double and a mere $7 for triple and that's for ALL flavors. Take that Udders and your ridiculous pricing and weighing of your scoops! BOO. 
To improve your ice cream experience, go for the waffles with ice cream. It only costs an additional $3.50 for a light crispy batter with a slight tinge of saltiness. Each waffle is made to order and served piping hot with ice cold cream on top and your choice of maple/chocolate syrup. I like that the centre is not too floury and spongy (if not i'd OD on flour). 2 scoops of ice cream is perfect to cover every waffle cube- that's how i eat my waffles. I'll cut the ice cream into little cubes and fill up the holes before eat each square individually. It's just more fun this way. :) Oh and the good thing about getting the waffles is that you can skip the queue and order at the cashier right away. Another incentive!

The ice cream parlor is not very big and it gets really packed at night when all the Thomsonites finish their dinner and head out for some sweets. Not a place for chilling out especially when it's packed. I would not hesitate to give you the evil eye if you hog the seats during peak hours. As for me, i do my part and try not to hang around for too long after i'm done with my desserts. :)
Food: 4/5 Love the ice cream. They have interesting flavors like Avocado as well. :))
Service: 3.5/5 Average. Could be a little faster when it comes to clearing the tables
Atmosphere: 3/5. Could get pretty noisy. Not a place for hanging out.

246F Upper Thomson Road
Sun-Thu: 12pm - 11pm
Fri, Sat, Eve of PH: 12pm - 2am
Whenever i go to Song Fa for dinner and hang around the area after, i have noticed this Chinese zi char (cooked food) stall-ish kinda place just farther down the road. It used to be pretty empty (at least my memory of it). Obviously i didn't pay much attention to this. Not really my idea of a zi char stall because the best ones usually don't have the best dining conditions-- non airconditioned, loud and dynamic and located in the most remote heartlands.

Was surprised when Will and S suggested this particular place to satisfy a claypot rice craving. We would usually go to Geylang Claypot rice (i swear that is heavenly) but we were in an adventurous mood that day. It was only then that i found out that it's called Le Chasseur (such a pretentious name for a Chinese zi char place). Reminded me of those regular Viet restaurants in Saigon that gave themselves French names but sell nothing remotely French. I don't really care about what they call themselves as long as the food is worth it.
The place was packed to the brim! There were no seats indoors or outdoors. Took us about 30minutes to get a table, mainly because there is absolutely NO SEATING SYSTEM! Trust me, it's ridiculous. Even the zi char stalls in the heartlands do better than them in terms of seating their customers.

While we waited, our eyes feasted on the pictures of the dishes that were displayed prominently on the glass doors. We were starving by the time we got our seats and were dying to try the "famous" claypot rice.
Apparently the Crispy Pork Knuckle, Claypot Rice and BBQ Live Prawns are the bestsellers. Despite our rumbling tummies, we decided not to over order in order to save space for desserts. BUT GUESS WHAT! It took another 40ish minutes for our dishes to be served! I'm not being unreasonable here. I understand and appreciate the time taken to cook a pot of claypot rice from scratch BUT 40ish minutes to serve our cold dish and drinks??!! How long does it take to slice tofu and chop century eggs?! Ridiculous. So anyway it took us an hour (after we got a table)to be served our meal, even though we placed the order immediately upon arrival. Extremely bad service. They need to hire more helpers if they are shorthanded.
The tofu with century egg was refreshing. Can't go wrong with this combination. The egg could be in bigger chunks though. Can hardly taste much of that.
The coffee pork ribs were nicely charred on the outside. Nice smokiness that went well with the bitterness of the coffee sauce. Like the touch of crunchy almond slices to complement the texture of the meat. The ribs were tender enough (didn't break my jaw chewing), though they required quite a bit of manhandling or i would say sporkhandling to get the meat off.
I could be sure that the rice was cooked from scratch in the pot because it took so long. I don't know if it's really worth that waiting time though. Nice burnt and crispy rice bottom of the pot. Flavorful Basmati rice that was simmered in chicken stock and cooked over charcoal for that additional taste and smoky flavor. Interesting choice of the long grains because Basmati rice doesn't stick to each other and are light and fluffy when cooked.

The chicken meat was tender but it wasn't deboned (troublesome to eat). Love the sweetness of the lup cheong (preserved chinese sausages) and saltiness of the salted fish. My main complain is that there isn't enough ingredients. :( I ended up eating more of the flavored rice than anything else. BOO.
The food at Le Chasseur isn't bad. But the bad service is enough to deter me from going back. I was so tempted to walk off to Song Fa which promises yummy BKT that is served promptly.

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 1/5 Really bad and slow service. Staff were unfriendly and hostile.
Atmosphere: 3/5 Average. Nothing to boast about.

Le Chasseur
31 New Bridge Road
Daily: 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 10.30pm
Cash Terms only
For a work trip to Kuala Lumpur some time back, i managed to find some time for a spot of tea and cakes. Guess i didn't get enough when i was in KL the last time (more of my Malaysia/KL escapades here). Stopped by Mid Valley on the way back to Sg and i spotted some really delicious looking cakes at Delicious cafe. Obviously i had to drag my colleagues in with me. Didn't take a lot of effort to convince them to have desserts for lunch (they seem to think tt i'm the food expert because of my blog). Plus, i found out that R is a desserts fan! Funny thing for a big dude. First thing he asked was if they serve brownies. Haha.

The selection of desserts were quite amazing and they all looked very promising sitting there behind the glass walls. Took me a long while to decide what i wanted because everything looks drool worthy. I made sure it's something different from my companions' selections so that i can steal some of theirs! One of my food strategies. Heh.
Quite a cozy set up, warm lights, comfy seats that moulds to your behind, perfect for resting the legs and bum after a day of shopping. Liking the bird cages but it's not as sophisticated as those i've seen in Saigon.

My huge cup of mocha. Great coffee making techniques. Dense and thick foam that held my sugar crystals very well. No complains about the coffee but nothing particularly spectacular.
The Chocolate brownie (RM12.90) with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce sent us straight to chocolate heaven. It's quite a huge slab of brownie which had a nice brownish crust on the outside. My favorite kind of brownie is the sticky chewy sort with a moist centre and this is absolutely it. The chocolate was dark and not too cloyingly sweet. Love it when the ice cream melts and swirls in with the rich brown sauce. Sadly it's not real vanilla ice cream (NO VANILLA BEANS!).
I ordered the hazelnut cheesecake (RM14). Dense and rich cheese, absolutely yummy and creamy. This is slightly of the crumbly sort as compared to the other cheesecake we had. I was trying to place what's different about it, then i realized that there is some tinge of citrus in my cake. I can't taste that much of the hazelnut actually but it's a good cheesecake nonetheless.
KS ordered the macademia nut cheesecake (RM14) which was quite very different from the Hazelnut cheesecake. On the toppings- it tasted very much like Garette's popcorn! Love the butterscotch caramel taste of savory nut. The cheese base is a lot creamier and smoother than the hazelnut (you can see the difference in the pictures). This is more of a salty cake. I guess they are going for the salted caramel taste. It's a little weird tasting the salt in the cake but it's an interesting dessert.
Delicious also serves other hot food- pasta, burgers, sandwiches and Western European mains. What interests me more would be the Afternoon Tea Set for 2 (RM60). 3 tiered tea set that comes with scones (Jam & Pure Cream), Assortment of Finger Sandwiches & Duck Confit in Filo Pastry, Strawberries with Chocolate Dip &
Hand-rolled Chocolate Truffles, Rosemary & Cheese Cookies, a slice of any one cake on display and 2 cups of hot tea or coffee.

It was only after the trip that S told me there's a Delicious branch in Sg. It opened not too long ago and is located at Scotts Square Level B1. However, i heard that the food is a far cry from the Malaysian parent. :/ May try it someday just to make sure.

Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore (Check out the website for locations in Malaysia)
#B1-16 to19, Scotts Square
Tel: +65 6636 0903
Daily: 8am - 10pm

S took me to another of his 'secret finds' near Duxton. I thought we'd be heading to some of the nice Duxton restaurants i've been meaning to try but we ended up under some HDB block at a nondescript, hole in the wall Japanese restaurant called Meii Sushi. Apparently, it's one of Makansutra's K.F. Seetoh's favorite Japanese Omakase meals. For a mere $100, you get an 8 course set which consists of wasabi-spiked marinated octopus sashimi, de-shelled oysters in a soy-laced vinaigrette, sumptuous grilled yellow tail fish cheek, smelt fish tempura as well as sashimi, sushi Value for money? You bet.

The set up is very small, the bar seats 8-10 people and there's another corner that seats another 8. Do make a reservation in advance. Affordable sushi and sashimi sets with a selection of sake.
S and i went with the Sushi set ($25) and Sashimi set ($25). Each  set came with a shredded cabbage salad. The light sesame sauce was citrusy with a tinge of tartness. The sauce brought out the sweetness of the vegetables and despite the initial rawness (i'm obviously not a veg fan), it was very refreshing after a few bites.
We ordered the Agedashi tofu ($8) for starters and i love the light batter which soaked up the flavorful dashi stock. It was sweet, savory and light at the same time. I love the silkened tofu that was soft but did not crumble under the pressure of the chopsticks. The spring onions, wakame and bonito flakes added more dimension to the dish. S was drinking the stock afterwards. Super yums.
For his Sashimi set, S was served 10 chunky pieces of fish which includes salmon, tuna, scallop, octopus, sea bass and sea bream. The salmon sashimi is so buttery and smooth! It was really good. The tuna was ok (Ok is a big deal in my tuna dictionary because i don't like the fishiness of the fish). The sashimi was served with warm rice coated with furikake (Japanese seasoning). I love furikake! I could just have rice balls with that. You could buy them in satchels (available at good supermarkets) and pour over your plain rice for any meal.
The fish was undoubtedly fresh, i have nothing to complain about. Fresh and succulent meat and sweet hotate (it was kinda sticky though..).. The issue was with the fish to rice ratio. Everything was too big. You must be wondering wth am i complaining about right? Sushi is meant to be bite sized, even for little mouths like mine. I was struggling with stuffing the entire piece into my mouth (that's the right and only way to eat sushi). So yea.. it was too big.
The fish was sliced really thick and each piece is huge (longer than my index finger which is 7cm tall). In the end i gave up and ate the fish separated from the rice (i didn't eat much of the rice actually. Read on to find out why.).

I don't like the rice at all. Huge bolus of rice which were waaaaayy too sticky and tending on the dry side. I would say this is hard to stomach. The taste of the rice also didn't complement the fish particularly well, would prefer a little more vinegar in them (they were pretty plain).

Afternote: Meii Sushi has relocated to International Plaza.

Meii Sushi
#02-54, 10 International Plaza
Tel: +65 6220 3466
Mon - Sat: 11am - 2.30pm, 5 - 10.30pm
Been in another one of my insatiable Japanese food craving that had me eating Japanese food for almost a week. Thank god the boy shares my love for Japanese food as well. It's something we will not get sick of because of the variety and styles available. :)

S wanted sushi and sashimi for dinner (just the day after Tatsuya) and obviously i said no, since my tummy was satisfied in that aspect. Then he grumbled about me having Tatsuya without him. Hello! The tummy waits for no one. :P Convinced him to do a different style and so we headed to Parco at Millenia Walk where they have a section on Japanese food. Settled on Saboten and then a turn of events and more friends decided to join us.

Anyhow, we've tried Saboten a couple of times by now. It's not that the tonkatsu is spectacular but it's better tan the average that you get? Tonkichi is another crowd favorite but i haven't tried that before (tonkatsu isn't my favorite jap meal. It's kinda too fried, even by my standards).

Saboten opened its very first shop back in 1966 in Shinjuku, Tokyo and has since flourished into the largest Tonkatsu chain in Japan with over 500 shops. Overseas franchisees include Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Expect crispy and tender grain-fed pork loins coated with bread crumbs, eaten on its own or with the special home made Tonkatsu sauce or with the curry. If you are not a porkie fan, they have seafood tonkatsu as well. Sets are priced between $19- $26.
Each set comes with free flow of shredded Japanese cabbage which can be dressed with a refreshing vinegar- based yuzu (citrus) sauce or creamy sesame dressing. My favorite is the sesame sauce of course! I have a bottle of this at home for my salads. Yummy!

I decided to go with something different this time and chose the Ishiyaki Soboro Rice Set instead. Kinda like the Jap version of bimbimbap minus all the spice. The sauce served is a sweet teriyaki-ish brown sauce which i generously drenched my rice in. The minced meat is well marinated and sweet and the spring onions adds a refreshing touch to the dish in general.
As part of the set, i chose the shrimp and crab croquette (since i made S order the tenderloin). I love fried fresh crystal prawn and this has a firm texture that is sweet and savory at the same time. The crab croquette is very creamy, moist and dense. The crab cream ought to have a stronger seafood taste though and i think they should add corn kernels to it. That would be the perfect combination.
S had the curry tenderloin tonkatsu. It may look very plain but the curry is so deli. Some Japanese curry lacks the punch because it's too sweet. This has the right amount of spice and tanginess. The viscosity of that gravy coats the crispy bread batter instead of soaking it, which is perfect because i still want the crunch of the patty. Anyway what i'm trying to say is that i would gladly finish a pot of rice with nothing else but the curry.

If you have a larger appetite and you want to try a mix of their fried food, go for the Saboten set which comes with a mini loin, mini tenderloin, crab croquette and shrimp. The twin set has more variety with cheese asparagus and ham and cheese roll (i think).

Food: 4/5 Love the curry
Service: 3.5/5 A little slow and not particularly attentive though the servers are quite knowledgeable about the food.
Ambience: 3.5/5 Regular Japanese restaurant. Nothing special.

#P3-01 Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk
Tel: +65 6333 3432
Daily: 11.30am – 10pm

Level 3 Departure Hall, Changi Airport Terminal 1
Daily: 8am- 10.30pm
Whenever people mention Japanese food, one of the first names that would come to mind would be Tatsuya. I have been meaning to try their food but their booking for Restaurant Week is always snatched up (even for pre booking!). Of course, i'm not one who would simply wait for a cheap deal to visit the restaurant of my choice. Why do we need an excuse to have good food? Good thing Ben suggested Tatsuya for lunch and we managed to score a last minute reservation at the 23-seater sushi bar for 3, albeit the 1h time limit imposed on us.
Helmed by Chef Ronnie Chia, 2 time Award winner for the World Gourmet Summit's Asian Ethnic Chef of the year in 2007 and 2008, Tatsuya serves one of the most exquisite sushi meals in Singapore. Is it any wonder that they fly in fresh and exotic offerings direct from the renown Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo? No worries people, the fish is safe. Though I honestly don't care if radiation kills me as long as i get the yummiest sashimi! 
We decided to go with the Lunch Bento sets which were reasonably priced at $26 to 30++. Actually i would say that it's darn cheap. Somehow i had this idea that a meal at Tatsuya would cost a bomb (though we have paid a lot more for Japanese before). 

Ben and Sue decided to go ahead with the Sushi Bento ($30.90). Given my lousy recognition skills of sashimi, i believe that it's salmon, tuna, swordfish and hamachi (i think?) sushi. Along with california roll and tamago, as well as tempura prawns and pumpkin. YUMS! That together with the silky smooth chawanmushi which had a refreshing taste to it- they added some orange peel! Interesting touch indeed.

I love the Iwate sushi rice which was springy and bouncy with the right amount of stickiness. The balance of vinegar and saltiness as well as the sweetness that comes after chewing was perfect.The fish to rice ratio was obviously faultless as well. I hate it when i'm served with a huge bolus of rice with a small piece of meat and worse when it is clumpy! No such issue at Tatsuya of course. :)) The fish was nothing but the freshest as well.

A little while into the meal, Ben's bento was taken away from him! We were a little bewildered. Then the chef explained that he's rearranging the position of the sushi so that it's easier for him to handle (as Ben is a leftie). How thoughtful and observant! Thumbs up for good service!

As for me, i went with the Ladies Lunch ($26.80) which consisted of a Japanese potato salad, Chawanmushi, Prawn and Veg Karaage, assorted sushi and tamago with a chilled udon.
I love chilled udon, especially if it's Inaniwa udon! Yums. Very cold and chewy texture that is oh so refreshing. The slender and translucent noodles when dipped in the soba sauce is absolutely appetizing. I would choose chilled udon over hot ones in a heartbeat.
I'm not a big fan of vegetable karaage. I think there's usually too much flour and hence the dish isn't as crispy as the tempura version. Tatsuya's version is surprisingly light with a slight moisture. Juicy chunks of prawn coupled with thinly shredded carrots and onions fried to a light golden brown.
Needless to say, we left with happy tummies. I am pretty sure i'd be coming back soon and the next time i wanna try the Kaiseki ($165) and Omakase ($200+) course! Now off to my Sunday lunch and all these talking about Jap food is making me crave for it again. I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. :))

Food: 5/5 I was very happy. 'Nuff said.
Service: 5/5 Pleasant, efficient and extremely thoughtful even though they were very busy.
Ambience: 4/5 Authentic and fuss free Japanese restaurant setting.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Tel: + 65 6737 1160 (Reservations required)
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6.30pm - 11pm